Beyond Coal - Philadelphia

PA Clean Air Blog

Join the email list for local action HERE.

Contact Sierra Club staff organizier Gary Lytle at gary.lytle@sierraclub.org

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Environmental Justice

The Sierra Club and the SPG have been building a relationship and collaborating with the Eastwick Friends and Neighbors Coalition over the last 2 years. The coalition came together to fight a redevelopment plan for an area of the neighborhood adjacent to the John Heinz NWR that is currently reverted green space and a buffer to the adjacent John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. Philadelphia made a deal behind closed doors in 2012 to rezone and let the developer build multifamily housing on that land seeking to close the book on the ugly redevelopment initiative from the 1960s era that forcibly removed thousands of residents of this community in Southwest Philly, and razed their homes and businesses in the name of progress. There is an excellent account of the history and status by EFNC's attorney, Amy Laura Cahn, in Harvard's Environmental Justice Law Journal

Read more about the challenges, achievements and plans that the Philadelphia area Sierra Club EJ team is working towards HERE.

To join the Phila/Env Justice action team, contact Robin at robinlmann@gmail.com

Protecting Fresh Water Preserves

Sierra Club volunteers organized a few events to support the efforts of Amy and Dave Freeman, who are paddling (and sailing) from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota to Washington, DC as part of the Paddle To DC action to raise awareness about threats to the BWCA and other fresh water preserves and recreation areas due to nearby mining, drilling and other pollution risks.

We were happy to host a group paddle on the Schuylkill River and a reception at the Girl's Rowing Club of Philadelphia. Thanks to all that joined us on Nov 22, 2014 and a wish of calm waters to Dave and Amy on the rest of their voyage and good luck making a statement in Washington.

Paddle to DC: A Quest for Clean Water from Nate Ptacek on Vimeo.

Some photos from our events on the Schuylkill River and at the reception. Click on any to see the whole Flickr set.

To see the blog of the complete trip and sign the petition, go to Paddle To DC

Special thanks to Hidden River Outfitters for arranging a group paddle for this "off-season" event." And to the musical harmonies of Nicole and Angelique Zuppos.

If you want to volunteer on future actions to protect our fresh water preserves, contact karen.melton59@gmail.com

Anti Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Project

Philadelphia area volunteers have been organizating to raise awareness of the impact of mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining the Appalachian regions of Virginia and West Virginia. While coal extracted from the mountains helps to keep our houses warm and the lights on, it has a more insidious affect on the people that live down stream of mining waste. Ground water and streams are contaminated with metals that have long term effects on people and wildlife.

Philadelphia is home to the region 3 headquarters of the EPA, which is responsbile for all of Virginia and West Virginia. We are helping to give a voice to the people of Appalachia. Read more here and here ...

To join the Phila/MTR action team, contact Jim at jim.wylie@verizon.net

Support for Pennsylvania's Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS)

The AEPS is the mechanism that forces our electric utility companies to slowly transition the mix of energy source from primarily fossil fuels and nuclear to clean and renewable sources like wind and solar. The current requirements call for Tier 1 fuels (solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, methane from bio, biomass, fuel cells, coal mine methane and black liquor) to ramp up to 8% by 2021. And the solar specific portion to ramp to 0.5% by 2021. Sierra Club, and others, supports legislation that would increase these requirements to 15% by 2023 for Tier 1 and 1.5% for solar.

We've seen renewable energy projects create good family-sustaining jobs in the wind and solar industries, as a result of the stimulus created by the original passage of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard in 2005. But since that time many of our neighboring states have adopted stronger renewable energy policies while we have languished. As a result, the good green jobs created by our AEPS are being lost to states like New Jersey, Delaware and New York.

To join the Phila/AEPS action team, contact Karen at karen.melton59@gmail.com

Smog

Coal-fired power plants are the largest single source of smog-causing pollution in the state, even though most large plants have technology that could reduce emissions by up to 40 percent. Unfortunately, they are not using this life-saving technology as often or as effectively as they should.

Nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvanians, including more than five million people in the Southeast region, live in areas with failing air quality due to smog pollution. The new safeguards are intended to help solve this health crisis. However, the proposed plan fails to set meaningful limits on coal plants that would require them to use available pollution-cutting technology.

Read more here.

The Beyond Coal Campaign will also be taking action on "bad air" (orange or red designations for ozone pollution) days this summer. People are encouraged to write letters to the editor or op-eds for newspapers in the vicinity. For more information on this, please contact Sue Edwards: sueedwards79@gmail.com.

Support for Pennsylvania's Wind Industry with Federal Production Tax Credits

Clean energy like wind and solar had a breakthrough year in 2013, and that sent the fossil-fuel billionaires running scared. They're worried that their profits will be blown away by reliable, cost competitive, American-made wind farms and solar arrays -- energy sources that don't choke Pennsylvanian skies with smog and soot and don't dump toxic mercury and selenium into our beautiful streams and rivers.

Show your support by sending a letter to your congressman here. Check back here for further news on organizing teams that will help support the Wind Productin Tax Credit.

To join the Phila/AEPS action team, contact Gary at gary.lytle@sierraclub.org

Or join the PA Clean Air Team email distribution list on Google Groups.